Sign up today and save up to 83% on a Hartford Courant digital subscription
CT Now

A thriller tightens its grip in 'The Calling'

Susan Sarandon is riveting as a troubled small-town police inspector in 'The Calling'
When what appear to be faith-based killings afflict a small town, Susan Sarandon is on the case

"The Calling" is an absorbing, solidly crafted procedural thriller with a terrific lead turn by Susan Sarandon as Hazel Micallef, a cranky, small-town police inspector who helps to unravel a series of serial killings. Although the 67-year-old actress may not initially seem the go-to choice to play a haunted, pills-and-alcohol-dependent cop who lives with her mom (Ellen Burstyn), Sarandon again proves she can make just about anything work on screen. ("Tammy," anyone?)

When two murders occur — one in Hazel's snowy Canadian burg of Fort Dundas, the second in a neighboring town — Hazel, along with a fellow detective (Gil Bellows) and a newly transferred young cop (Topher Grace, quite good), begin looking for possible connections.

An aging priest (Donald Sutherland) tells Hazel a strange tale of early Christian mysticism, which sheds light on what's shaping up to be a string of faith-based killings. The case then moves in a disturbing new direction as a suspect emerges in Simon (an eerily beatific Christopher Heyerdahl), a kind of twisted angel of mercy with unusual surgical skills.

Director Jason Stone, working off a deft script by Scott Abramovitch (based on the novel by Inger Ash Wolfe), creates a taut, enveloping atmosphere as the mystery's grim puzzle pieces unfold. That's a particularly impressive feat considering we — if not Hazel and company — know the killer's identity from the start.

An unexpected turn of events in the third act helps end this above-par crime yarn on a gripping and satisfying note.

------------

"The Calling."

MPAA rating: R for violent content, disturbing images and language.

Running time: 1 hour, 48 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle's Music Hall 3, Beverly Hills; AMC Universal CityWalk Stadium 19. Also on VOD.

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
Related Content
  • Horror thriller 'The Damned' an exercise in dumb moves

    Horror thriller 'The Damned' an exercise in dumb moves

    The horror thriller "The Damned" reconfirms one cardinal rule: When the grizzled proprietor of a crumbling inn in the middle of nowhere tells you that the joint is closed, take a hike.

  • 'The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears' is a murky mystery

    'The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears' is a murky mystery

    Writers-directors Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani first garnered attention in 2010 with "Amer," a film that paid homage to giallo, the Italian horror of the 1960s and '70s. They revisit the subgenre with "The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears," and though this work seems fairly textbook for that...

Comments
Loading
78°